Day Three and we are already there to my top 10 spots to see! How did this happen? This trip was such a whirlwind of fun and I wish so much that I could have had longer to explore as I this list is mostly of the things I did, but also a few are wish list of things I hope to be able to come back and do very soon. If you what to eat or what I love about New Orleans you can check out those posts as well.
Here are my top 10:
1. WWII Museum
This was by far, my favorite attraction I saw during my stay to New Orleans. I enjoy historical museums, but this particular museum raised the bar to so many of my previous experiences. You are given a dog tag with a real soldier who left their home and served our country in World War II. You board the train, learn about “yourself” and the home life you are leaving, and go step by step through the experience of your soldier through the progression of the war. It was so hands on and tactile.
New Orleans played a major role in developing the “Higgins Boat” that made D-Day a success and in turn the war a success for the United States. It was an honor to meet war veterans that were an active part of this effort. They say this was the boat that won the war.
I loved seeing the artifacts like this set of dog tags worn by one of the soldiers that someone had knitted pockets for so that they wouldn’t cling together or rub up against the soldiers skin. I also loved seeing quotes and representations of propaganda they had at the time. So many people made sacrifices to afford us the freedom that we enjoy today.
But nothing left me in so much awe as the “Beyond all Borders” 4D film did narrated and directed by Tom Hanks. I was in tears multiple times and felt so much gratitude and national pride for the way we banded together and made such an unreasonable necessity possible of winning this war.
Walking around with Kacey Hill, the director, was a complete honor as she shared with us personal stories that she had witnessed as veterans return to the museum and share their personal accounts with her. She said the most touching moment she has experienced yet was when a husband and wife of 50 years were standing in the “Road to Berlin” exhibit after watching the film and experiencing the WWII experience in a more tactile way and she turned to her husband and said, “I think I finally get it. After all of these years of you explaining it to me and telling me the stories, I finally feel like a get what you went through. This place brings it to life.”
2. Experience some unique Shopping
Funky Monkey: This shop was so much fun! It is basically a catch all for everything Mardi Gras and costume needs. I found the most adorable ballerina outfit for Jayne, but they also have new clothes vintage dresses, wigs, and really amazing vintage jewelry. You really could find anything from a wedding dress to a costume for your next themed party or anything in between. If you are looking for something unique and cool that no one else would have, this is your place.
Shop UAL: This place has some serious fun shopping. If you love to find a great deal on top of the line fashion but don’t want top of the line price, this place is for you. I was able to find some blush pink, beautiful pumps that were regularly $300 for only $30. That is a price I can afford! It was so fun to search through their racks of designer clothes. It is a hunt, so be ready to search for the perfect piece!
The oldest Streetcars still in operation reside in New Orleans and it is such a beautiful way to see the city! There are different routes to choose from, so choose the area you want to explore and hop aboard.
4. Take a Tour:
Cemetery, literary, riverbottom tour, carriage ride, plantation you name it! There are so many amazing tours that are available through New Orleans. I was able to do a cemetery and garden tour and absolutely loved learning about all of the literary legends that have lived and written in New Orleans. The cemeteries are so unique as they all have to be built above ground because of the high water table which makes for a very intricate, interesting walk about as you learn about the families that lived and developed early New Orleans. Pirates, Explorers, freed prisoners, and shipped in maidens made for quite the new beginning to this French developed corner of the United States.
My favorite thing that the tour guide said to us was this, “New Orleans is all about the extremes, there isn’t a lot of space for middle ground. There is a really bad, really good, really poor, really wealthy, and every extreme in music, food, and culture.” That wasn’t his quote exactly, and I wish I would have recorded him because he said it so beautifully.
I quickly fell in love with the Garden District as it is lined with picturesque houses, porches, and gas lit torches. It was also fun to see some homes that celebrities currently own as well.
5. Local Art
One of my favorite discoveries was a new movement called “Where Y’art” a company dedicated to giving young artists a platform in New Orleans. Great news is that you can visit them in person or online!
You can also check out more New Orleans art galleries here.
I also loved walking the streets of the Frenchman art market. I saw beautiful prints, handmade jewelry, sculptures, paintings, and music. LOVE LOVE LOVE this place.
This should come as no surprise. The atmosphere of this powder sugared cafe just can’t be beat. There is always a crowd, laughter, hot drinks, and sweet smiles. Arriving at midnight was completely normal and it is not frowned upon if you have more than one! 🙂 Open 24 hours a day, closed on Christmas. You’re welcome.
If you want to experience a little bit of the magic of Mardi Gras without actually attending the parade you can visit Mardi Gras World and see the magic before it marches down the lane. There is so much intricate work that goes into the making of the floats, costumes, and magic of the parade that you can view here.
This gown can actually be found in a small museum in the upstairs of Arnaud’s restaurant. There are over 12 dresses on display that are incredible to see.
photo cred: Amanda Frentz The perfect place to take your family for a stroll. City Park also offers ropes courses, family activities, events, and playgrounds.
Jackson Square is simply magical. It has so much history and is surrounded by local artisans, musicians, and culture.
10. Attend live music
This is the icing on the cake of what New Orleans has to offer. I fell in love with the rich, jazzy soul that New Orleans has to offer. One of my favorites was Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse. Oh my goodness. Such a cool groove and fun atmosphere.
Bringing home a CD was the closest thing I could do to bringing New Orleans home with me! My brother in law just became a new professor at Louisiana State University and I cannot wait to make it back! What are your favorite places to see in New Orleans?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of New Orleans Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. The opinions and text are all mine.